In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market index fund. But if you try your hand at stock picking, your risk returning less than the market. We regret to report that long term Tomson Group Limited (HKG:258) shareholders have had that experience, with the share price dropping 20% in three years, versus a market return of about 13%. In the last ninety days we've seen the share price slide 20%.
To paraphrase Benjamin Graham: Over the short term the market is a voting machine, but over the long term it's a weighing machine. One imperfect but simple way to consider how the market perception of a company has shifted is to compare the change in the earnings per share (EPS) with the share price movement.
During the three years that the share price fell, Tomson Group's earnings per share (EPS) dropped by 16% each year. In comparison the 7.2% compound annual share price decline isn't as bad as the EPS drop-off. This suggests that the market retains some optimism around long term earnings stability, despite past EPS declines.
The graphic below depicts how EPS has changed over time (unveil the exact values by clicking on the image).
Dive deeper into Tomson Group's key metrics by checking this interactive graph of Tomson Group's earnings, revenue and cash flow.
What About Dividends?
When looking at investment returns, it is important to consider the difference between total shareholder return (TSR) and share price return. Whereas the share price return only reflects the change in the share price, the TSR includes the value of dividends (assuming they were reinvested) and the benefit of any discounted capital raising or spin-off. It's fair to say that the TSR gives a more complete picture for stocks that pay a dividend. We note that for Tomson Group the TSR over the last 3 years was 7.6%, which is better than the share price return mentioned above. And there's no prize for guessing that the dividend payments largely explain the divergence!
A Different Perspective
We regret to report that Tomson Group shareholders are down 14% for the year (even including dividends). Unfortunately, that's worse than the broader market decline of 6.5%. However, it could simply be that the share price has been impacted by broader market jitters. It might be worth keeping an eye on the fundamentals, in case there's a good opportunity. On the bright side, long term shareholders have made money, with a gain of 7.4% per year over half a decade. If the fundamental data continues to indicate long term sustainable growth, the current sell-off could be an opportunity worth considering. Importantly, we haven't analysed Tomson Group's dividend history. This free visual report on its dividends is a must-read if you're thinking of buying.
If you are like me, then you will not want to miss this free list of growing companies that insiders are buying.
Please note, the market returns quoted in this article reflect the market weighted average returns of stocks that currently trade on HK exchanges.
We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.
If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.